Saturday, February 16, 2013
Hard places. Everyone travels through hard places in life. I want to help folks understand why hard places still exist in a faith-filled Christian’s life. The wrong perspective makes a hard place a whole lot harder.
Sometimes we find ourselves between a rock and a hard place. Life has a way of changing — fast. One day she says she loves and is committed to you for the rest of your lives. Then, you find her in bed with your best friend.
One day my father thought his marriage was fine — then came home to an empty house. His first wife disappeared, without note or explanation. Things change, often faster than we can keep up.
God is a great teacher. He knows how to take ordinary men and women and make them extraordinary. He takes shepherds and makes kings. He takes farmers and makes prophets. He takes foster kids and makes deliverers. He takes fisherman and makes leaders. Everyone who graduates from God’s school comes out a whole lot different than when they entered.
God is a great artist who sees what could be, not just what is. His teaching method goes way beyond the chalkboard. It involves life —which involves hard places.
God uses everything to teach us. When God is silent, He’s still teaching. When He’s present, He’s teaching, and when it seems that He’s absent, He’s teaching.
There are times when God seems indifferent to what you’re going through. But God is doing something in us in the hard places.
I’m not sure we have taught faith correctly. Some think that if you have great faith you won’t go through anything. But how will you know if you have great faith unless you hit a hard place? Hard places educate us as to where we stand with God.
We all go through hard places, some financial, others relational, emotional, inexplicable and hard even to put your finger on. Sometimes we don’t know why we’re in one.
If you find yourself between a rock and a hard place, I want to encourage you: You’re not alone.
But when you’re in a hard place, realize that God has something for you. In Deuteronomy 8:16, the Bible records God’s intention for His people who were wandering in a desert, “that He might do you good in the end.”
It may seem there’s nothing but pain, discouragement, debt, disease or death, but God has something more. He holds the beginning from the end, and you in the palm of His hand. He who began a good work in you will be faithful to finish it.
Many of us would never get to know God like our heart longs to know God without the journey of the wilderness. There are some things you learn a lot better at 2 a.m. than in class or listening to someone else’s journey with God. God has a journey for you and when you find Him along the way, you won’t care about where you are or what the surroundings look like anymore.
Hard places scream at us, not only trying to tell us that we are alone, but that nothing good could possibly come from this. God is able to make something good come out of any hard place that you dedicate to Him, even those we got ourselves into.
There is not a hard place for which God has not provided a miracle. A hard place is an opportunity for God to show you how incredible He is. He has something in this season for you that is good.
If you are going to successfully navigate through a hard place, you must dedicate it to God right now. Give it to Him and He will show you that you don’t have to go through this alone, that He has something in this for you and that He is able to get you to the other side of this safely. Trust Jesus, for He alone is fully trustworthy.
The Rev. Bob Grimm is senior pastor of Life Church in Walla Walla. Contact him at 509-526-3450. Pastors in the U-B circulation area who want to write a column should contact Catherine Hicks at 509-526-8312, or by e-mail at email@example.com.